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Thursday, September 13, 2012

The Escapist Expo: Durham’s Geek Cred on Display 

The Escapist Expo: Durham’s Geek Cred on Display

People often talk about Durham becoming the next Austin, Brooklyn, Seattle or Portland.  When doing so, they point to the fact that you can get coffee delivered to you by bike, that we have a thriving local food scene, and that we have three of our own breweries.  They talk about our up and coming fashion scene, our amazing hip-hop artists and sculpture artists, our zero commission gallery, and our abundance of hipster bars.  All of these elements are indubitably required, part of the irreducible cultural stew that constitutes a “hip city.” In Durham, we pride ourselves on this mix: a little pinch of this, a little dash of that, some basics, some stock, a few surprises and voila, delicious outcomes.  

Despite all this Durham pride, one ingredient that rarely manages to make the limelight is our thriving gaming culture.  As geek becomes more the norm than the outlier for youth, the cities where the next generation chooses to settle and build their lives (and the resultant economies) will definitely need things like game development and computing jobs, geek culture, and access to games (both to purchase and play with others).  And Durham is growing gaming culture in spades.

If you’re looking for proof, just check out this weekend’s upcoming Escapist Expo – the first gaming convention of its kind to make Durham home, hosted by TheEscapist.com.  

In addition to panels featuring some of our amazing local game development talent like InsomniacGames, Dice Hate Me, and Epic Games, as well as local geek culture connoisseurs like Wired Magazine’s “Geek Dad” writer Michael Harrison, Escapist Expo is also importing some of the best participants from the broader US and overseas.  WotC D&D creative manager James Wyatt will be among the speakers, as will our favorite fellows from north of the border Graham and Paul, and Escapist fan favorite limey Yahtzee Croshaw. We even hear tell that one of the creators of Boardgamegeek.com will be attending.

In this humble writer’s opinion, some don’t miss panels include Friday’s “Building Worlds in RPGs,” “Everything You Wanted to Know About D&D Next,” and the sure to be entertaining “Return of the Sequel 2.”  

On Saturday, there are several great panels lined up that cater to specific audiences, such as “How to Run a Small Gaming Business” and “Crowdfunding Revolution” as well as “Raising Geek Kids.”  

And lest you think there are no panels for mere geeks and not gamers, think about checking out “Publishing Science Fiction and the Internet” or “Cosplay Tips”, the latter of which is sure to have some of the best dressed attendees showing off their creations.

Beyond panels, activities on offer include an outdoor laser tag arena, the famed American Classic Arcade Museum from Laconia, NH, a cosplay contest, console tournaments, and tons of freeplay areas for all manner of tabletop games, be they RPGs, boards, or cards. 

There’s something for everyone, so Durhamanians (and all North Carolinians) are highly encouraged to attend! Help the geek and gamer culture of our area keep growing!

See more at their official website Escapist Expo.

And stay tuned, we’ll be back on Sunday, in these pages with full coverage and tons of pics, so cosplayers in particular keep an eye out for us all weekend!

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